I Voted for “That One”

I’m voting I voted for “That One”   We’re coming down to the wire, and, before the weekend hits, I want to make a last-minute plea to everyone to VOTE EARLY.  There is still time to vote early or to vote absentee in most states.  Most states have “No Excuse” absentee or early voting, meaning you don’t need a reason for casting an early ballot.  In other states, you’re supposed to have a reason, but the range of reasons is pretty broad.  In Virginia, for example, the fact that you won’t be able to make it to the polls because of your work hours is a legitimate reason to vote early/absentee.

I voted in person in early October, and there wasn’t a line.  There will be lines now, but they still won’t be as bad as they will be on Nov. 4.  And it looks like many places will have in-person early voting for the next two Saturdays (Oct. 25 and Nov. 1).  For more information on voting early/absentee, check out your State Board of Elections web site by looking it up here or use Obama’s early voting assistance web site.

“But, Ripley, they won’t count my absentee vote unless there’s a tie!” It is an urban legend that early and absentee votes are counted only in the case of a tie.  They are counted just like regular votes. NPR covered this issue in a voting FAQ earlier this month.
Reasons to vote early/absentee:

1. You won’t have to wait in line for God-knows-how-long to vote on Election Day.  I had to wait for almost two hours on primary day this year, and I went relatively late in the morning.  It’s going to be much much worse on Nov. 4.

2. You can do something else on Election Day to help the campaign:  drive other people to the polls, make last-minute calls to remind people to vote, be a poll observer, travel to a swing state where your help is needed more, or do something else to get out the vote.

3. There aren’t enough poll workers. Voting early reduces lines at the polls on Election Day, which not only alleviates pressure on the poll workers, but also frees you up to be a poll worker, if you so choose.

4. There aren’t enough polling machines and the ones we do have are not reliable. In 2004, Ohio became the Florida of the presidential election, with massive problems with their polling machines causing havoc, uncertainty and disenfranchisement throughout the state.  Whether or not these problems cost John Kerry the election is still hotly debated.

5. You will have time to correct any problems with your voter registration. In the unlikely event that there is a problem with your registration, you will still have time to correct it if you vote early.  If you don’t find out about a problem until Election Day, you most likely will have to fill out a provisional ballot, which is counted only once the problem is resolved.  And provisional ballots are more likely to be rejected even though the vote might be valid.

6. Early voting neutralizes voter intimidation, voter caging, and other shenanigans designed to suppress (mostly Democratic) votes.  For information about the range of problems that could happen on Election Day, check out this report from electionline.org and the Pew Center on the States and this report from Common Cause and the Century Foundation.

7. The more people who vote early, the more people will vote. There is a record number of newly registered voters this year.  Many of these first-time voters won’t realize how long the lines will be.  These new voters are more likely to be discouraged by the prospect of waiting in line for hours to vote and are more likely to leave without voting.  This is especially true if the weather is bad on Election Day.  If you don’t vote early for yourself, do it for others!

8. Because it helps the Obama campaign. Early voting is a keystone of Obama’s election strategy, and the campaign has set up a special web site to help people vote.  If you don’t want your data to be added to his database, visit your State Board of Elections web site by looking it up here.   So I can’t stress it enough:  vote early.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for others.  Do it for Obama/Biden.  Do it for America’s future!

“Your ass is already on the line. The only question is, what are you gonna do about it?”


October 24, 2008. Barack Obama, Change, Election 2008.

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